Smoking, leading cause of preventable deaths in Nigeria, Uzodinma’s ex aide

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He warned that smoking or inhaling non-nicotine vape ingredients may cause severe, sometimes deadly lung damage and is, therefore, not any safer than cigarette smoking.

Chief Ezechukwu Obonna, a former Special Adviser to GovERNOR Hope Uzodinma of Imo on Narcotics and Illicit Drugs Monitoring, has described smoking as one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in Nigeria.

Obonna said this while addressing newsmen in Owerri, on Saturday.

Obonna, who was speaking against the backdrop of increasing drug use, especially among youths in the country, cautioned against smoking while highlighting its health implications.

According to him, experts have linked smoking to lung cancer adding that research continues to pinpoint more ways tobacco harms the human health, from cancers to other chronic diseases.

He said that experts estimated that about 16 million Nigerians live with a disease caused by smoking while every year, almost 480,000 people die from smoking-related diseases.

“This means that for every person who dies from smoking, at least 30 others live with a serious smoking-related illness.

“ Chewing tobacco or smokeless tobacco products are not safer than cigarettes, either because smokeless tobacco contains almost 30 cancer-causing chemicals.

“ E-cigarettes (vapes), an emerging form of nicotine delivery, differ from traditional tobacco products as vaping delivers more concentrated nicotine than cigarettes in a smokeless inhaled mist (vapour).

“Tobacco use harms every organ in the body because smoking tobacco introduces not only nicotine but also more than 5,000 chemicals, including numerous carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals), into the lungs, blood and organs.

“The damage caused by smoking can shorten one’s lifespan significantly, fact is smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in Nigeria,” he said.

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He advised pregnant women to desist from smoking adding that possible effects of smoking on pregnancy include ectopic pregnancy, a life-threatening condition when the embryo implants outside the uterus; miscarriages, stillbirths, congenital (present at birth) conditions, such as the cleft palate and low birth weight.

He warned that smoking or inhaling non-nicotine vape ingredients may cause severe, sometimes deadly lung damage and is, therefore, not any safer than cigarette smoking.

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